The medical anthropology book investigates sickness and wellbeing, medication and disease types, body biotechnologies, and the phenomena of healthcare systems. It takes a comprehensive approach to illness and health by delving into the historical, political, economic, cultural, and ecological dimensions of illness and health. Biocultural anthropology, on the other hand, investigates how environmental factors affect disease mechanisms, emphasizing the interactions between biological, social, and evolutionary influences with human biology (Wiley, Andrea, & John Allen, 2009). More generally, the ethnographic description of the experiences of illness is central to medical anthropology thus giving rise to various theoretical questions towards the ways illness becomes stigmatized or gains legitimacy. However, we still ask ourselves a question, what is medical anthropology anyway?
Chapter nine of the (medical anthropology: A bicultural approach), it elaborates the emergence of the disease and the clinical conditions whose incidence has increased in human beings. In the definition of the introduction, there is recognition of the existing undetected illness because of change in the environment thus providing an epidemiological bridge (Wiley, Andrea, & John Allen, 2009). There is further elaboration about the factors that influence the emergence of these infectious diseases and just to mention a few, the primary ones were; human demography and behavior, technology and industry, international travel and commerce and the ecological changes. Besides that, further clarification is highlighted about the disease and is discovered its a resurgent disease where it was mostly hidden among people living in poverty.
As explained in the introduction, medical anthropology also looks at how the disease spreads because of development. In this case, when Europeans had the expansion of their immunological sophistication, they had the advantage because the indigenous people died because of the attack of the disease. Later, there was a virgin soil epidemic because of decomposition of the bodies which were then seen to cause a global homogenization of infectious diseases (Wiley, Andrea, & John Allen, 2009). Malaria and cholera at this juncture was the one considered as the resurgent disease because Malaria became chloroquine resistance because of the increase in population. When trade took place, the virus then spread to the rest of the world.
The methodology used in this research was the mutation in a gene that forms the Cl channels in the cell membrane. Since cholera is known to produce toxins, the bacteria is known to pump out water thus leading to dehydration and later death. The research also elaborated more on the factors that influence to the increase of this disease. The rise in sea temperature was a primary factor that leads to the reproduction of cholera. More results showed that when dams were built, there was an increase of the pathogens because dams were known to be the breeding sites that made mosquitoes contract the disease thus passing it to individuals who had domesticated their animals. The breeding grounds of these places also produced and transmitted the black fly which spread whenever the dam spilled down the river. Poverty, on the other hand, was the leading factor in the spread of these diseases especially TB because of the crowded areas and poor nutrition. The prevalence of poverty stigmatized and ostracized because they did not have funds to control, incarceration and usage of drugs. In general, people who were in the social, economic position had the worst health (Wiley, Andrea, & John Allen, 2009).
In response to chapter nine, I did not think that such diseases form in easy ways like that. For instance, the beginning of the episode elaborates the emergence of the disease and the clinical conditions whose incidence has increased in human beings. Going more profound to the pages, I learned that human demography &behavior, technology and industry, international travel and commerce and the ecological changes were the most significant contributors to this disease. It is more understandable that even if there is development in a specific place, not everyone is keen enough to tell if the growth would come with infectious diseases. A good example is the construction of dams which was meant to help the people who were known to be poor. But then the area was known to be breeding sites for insects like mosquitoes. The ethical concern about this chapter is how the people building the dams were not directed and caution about the emergence of the disease.
Chapter ten of the medical anthropology is a more stress response chapter because it involves both hormones (as cortisol) and neurotransmitters (norepinephrine) to liberate the shutdowns and stressors of the non-essential physiological process (Wiley, Andrea, & John Allen, 2009). The section talks about the social inequality, ethnicity, and race that are concerned with the health disparities of human beings. The methodology of this episode is categorized into different physiological responses that govern the nervous system of the human body. For instance, The Allostatic was seen to be where the body functions are maintained under different circumstances. This was then seen to be divided into three nervous systems.
The autonomic nervous system was a network of neurons that is usually activated during psychological changes. The second one being the sympathetic nervous system is often activated when there is a stress response during the vegetative activities. Lastly is the parasympathetic nervous system which after its activated during the vegetative operations it is then suppressed during the stress response. Mostly, the Cortisol which is a steroid hormone made from cholesterol is secreted by the adrenal gland usually regulates the stress response (Wiley, Andrea, & John Allen, 2009). The lifestyle incongruity, ones education or occupation, in this case, go along with the accumulation of the material possessions. It is typically considered to be higher than what ones knowledge can reasonably maintain.
Chapter ten highlights more about the implication of health imperatives where the physiological response is more responsible because it involves both hormones (as cortisol) and neurotransmitters (norepinephrine) to liberate the shutdowns and stressors of the non-essential physiological process. The chapter is about how the human body develops different reactions due to certain conditions. The nervous system, in this case, is the one that reacts more because of a network of neurons that are usually activated during psychological changes. The chapter talks about the social inequality, ethnicity, and race that are concerned with the health disparities of human beings. In short, this section highlights more how diseases make the body to have different changes. Also, it elaborates how the categorized nervous system plays their role during the psychological processes. The ethical concern about chapter ten is that the human body should be understood when it reacts because various things happen during the mental processes. The sub-division of the nervous system was well elaborated because it shows how the body divides itself during multiple methods.
Wiley, Andrea, and John Allen. (2009) Medical Anthropology: A Biological Approach. New York &Oxford: Oxford University Press.